Frigid water and icebergs in Lake Superior appear to counter global warming
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. declared on June 9 that all of the Great Lakes, including frigid Lake Superior, are free of ice. This marks an end to a period of seven months in which the lakes were covered in at least one ice cube. It was the longest such streaks of ice cover on the inland freshwater seas since satellite monitoring began during the 1970s. The official ice out date of Lake Superior was June 7, which makes it the latest date in the year in which ice has covered the lake. As of the last week of April, at least one third of the Great Lakes were covered in ice. The ice trend continued into June, leaving the water temperature in the gelid range of 30 to 40 degree range.
Nonetheless, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, an iceberg was found near the coast of the Cheese State. The berg was home to a flock of seagulls and was found floating near Madeline Island in Lake Superior.
Th Great Lakes normally get some ice cover starting approximately December 1 of every year, continuing into April. However, in 2014 the ice cover continued six weeks past the normal mark of its disappearance. Wisconsin DNR Marine Warden Amie Egstad, who was conducting a routine inspection of commercial fishing nets, found the floating ice berg. “There was this big iceberg along with other ice packs and bergs floating around backside of Madeline Island area east towards Saxon Harbor,” Egstad said.
Surface temperatures of the Great Lakes are expected to be colder this year because more than 90 percent of the lakes had been covered in ice during the 2013-14 winter, which saw continued frigid temperatures.
"We were on today’s commercial net check," Egstad said. "And there was this big iceberg - along with other ice packs and bergs floating around backside of Madeline Island area east towards Saxon Harbor." Madeline Island is near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore park, approximately 50 miles from the border shared with the state of Michigan.
In March 2014, some meterologists were predicting that spring would come slowly and that this summer will be cooler than the norm. As of early March, 81 percent of Lake Superior was covered with ice, while Lake Erie had 96 percent coverage. Most of the Great Lakes became entirely covered with ice that penetrated well below the surface. In some places along the shore, observers could see fish trapped in the ice. Typically, winters in the Great Lakes are characterized by an ice coverage ranging from 30 to 40 percent, according to Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather reports. According to an article in the Meadville Tribune, Randy Adkins of Accuweather predicts cooler temperature this summer. “By the time we hit the later summer, it’s likely that lake temperatures will approach normal,” he said. “But places like Meadville and anywhere near the Great Lakes will have a cooler summertime in the earlier months like June.”
Sunlight reaching the lakes will be reflected back off the ice, thus delaying the process of thawing the ice. The cooler air impact is expected to decrease as the summer progresses and sunlight and southern winds affect water temperature. The cooling effect of the ice should only apply to winds crossing the Great Lakes.
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